Harry Potter Mania continues (hi, nonickname34!) in this week's column, with a question about talking to crushes:
Dear Auntie Sparknotes,
This is probably stupid but i'm going to be a senior this year and I've on and off flirted with the guy in the locker next to me for 3 years now. We haven't talked for a while when suddenly he started talking to me again. This fourth of july we happened to be at a baseball game together and I totally froze and couldn't say anything when he came over. My friend that I was with didn't help either because all she did was giggle. What can i do to make myself stop freezing. I can talk to him in large groups but whenever it's just me and him (or just one friend near) my brain just seems to turn off. I need help!!!!
Holy cats, letter-writer! Uncontrollable freezing in pressure-filled romantic situations can only mean one thing:
Yes, that’s right: somebody (probably Tom Felton, that hoser!) is hitting you with a body-bind curse whenever your crush approaches, leaving your vocal chords completely immobilized. But don’t fret; all you need is a good protection spell, like Protego, and you’ll be free to chat up your crush to your heart’s content. (As for your giggling friend, don’t be too hard on her—sounds like she’s the victim of a poorly-executed Cheering Charm.)
…Okay, just kidding. There’s a perfectly non-magical explanation for your freezing problem (and it’s a good thing, too, because that Shield Charm is hard to master.) Auntie SparkNotes knows it’s tough to negotiate one-on-one convos with your crush. You want to seem smart and witty, but also sweet, and make sure he knows you’re interested—but don’t be too obvious!—and look him in the eye, and stop playing with your hair, and be sure to smile, but wait, is there something stuck in your teeth?!… and… and… OMG BRAIN MALFUNCTION CANNOT MOVE.
Really liking somebody can cause you to overload your own head with pressure, leading to that unfortunate tongue-tied sensation you’re experiencing. And that’s why, to stop freezing, you need to take the pressure off. Here’s how:
Stop trying to flirt. Emphasis on the “trying.” Here’s a little secret: “Flirting” is just another word for “talking to someone you like.” Stop worrying about coming up with a brilliant epigram or pitch-perfect cutesy comeback, and just talk to him the same way you would in a group. When he says “Hi,” you say, “How’s it going?”; when he says, “Fine, you?”, you say, “Great. What’s new with you?”; when he says, “I just got a black belt in rhinoceros mud wrestling,” you say, “What the heck is that?! Tell me all about it!” Feel free to practice these conversational techniques on friends, family, coaches, and members of the clergy—they work everywhere.
Remember who you’re talking to. Your crush doesn’t have superpowers or celebrity status or the ability to crush you to death with his pinky; he’s just a dude. So when you feel yourself start to go goggle-eyed, picture him doing something totally mundane. Like brushing his teeth, or eating a sandwich, or taking a shower. (Um…okay, maybe not the shower.)
Turn the tables. Waiting around for him to come talk to you might seem like the easier thing to do, but it also means that you’re standing around til he gets there—and seriously psyching yourself out. So next time you see him, skip the passive role and feel free to initiate the conversation yourself. (After all, the worst that could happen is that he freezes up instead of you.)
And… PRACTICE. It goes without saying that the more you talk to someone, the easier it gets to talk to him again. So go forth, start a conversation, and keep on talking… unless he goes to kiss you, of course. Then you should probably shut it.
Got a question for Auntie SparkNotes? Have you seen any shifty-looking blond boys in long robes hanging around here? Hit up the comments, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.